For arguably the first time, civilian applications are driving the innovation space for vertical lift. The onslaught of novel configurations for personal air vehicles, air taxis and even air buses has driven the traditional vertical lift community to reassess the design and analysis boundaries of the legacy rotorcraft vehicle. Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems introduce further design constraints with the addition of combinations of rotors-propellers-engines. These new paradigms indicate that the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles need to meet a fundamentally different set of requirements. Developing insight in acquisition and operational cost as a function of operational use (maintenance and repair) is not only important but should be reversely accessible to steer the design of the vehicle as well as supply chain. Technology needs to deliver straightforward maintenance and repair techniques with thorough certification. It is critically important to ensure that safety requirements are met or exceeded, as a single catastrophic failure can have a devastating impact on the entire UAM community. The addition of new materials across the near to far terms of deployment must be assessed for their applicability in civil operations and civil business case models.
The technical challenge is to mitigate, and if possible, eliminate the technical barriers associated with the structures-related technology of vertical lift vehicles that make them less viable for civilian applications, while maintaining the highest safety standards. We are developing, validating, and demonstrating a novel, modular framework of analysis tools for operations, risk assessment, repair/maintenance, safety, and costs of AAM using current and advanced structures. Our unique team of university researchers, industry partners and maintenance experts have developed a combined numerical and experimental approach to develop an engineering- and science-based pc-based framework for operators and designers. This framework will permit to assess when maintenance and repair are needed using a low-cost monitoring system specific to local operations.More »
Improved safety will minimizing costs for AAM operators are the major benefits of this research. New manufacturing/repair technology innovations on advanced composites including additive manufacturing and metamaterials will be transitioned to our industry partners and the US AAM community. A major goal of our ULI is to provide safety and maintenance analysis based on local environmental “wear and tear" rather than the traditional “one size fits all” schedule-based maintenance. These costs are a major barrier to meeting NASA’s Roadmap for deployment of AAM.
Beyond the technical benefits, our focus is on the development of the next generation workforce for AAM across all disciplines from engineers to maintenance to support personnel. US Census and National Science Foundation (NSF) studies indicate that our 2030-2040 workforce will have to come from US rural areas if we are to meet the ambitious goals of AAM. The project includes a major effort between our education, state government, and industry partners to provide a sustainable three-prong outreach program to these areas, starting in the rural South (GA and SC), including teachers, parents and students. The rural cohort in the South includes a broad diversity, so the focus at the university level is to address socio-economic, first-generation college mentoring, and encouragement for graduate school through internship, cooperative education, undergraduate research opportunities and fellowships with our investigators.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus (GA Tech)||Lead Organization||Academia||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Middle Georgia State University||Supporting Organization||Academia||Macon, Georgia|
|North Carolina A & T State University||Supporting Organization||
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)
|Greensboro, North Carolina|
|Qarbon Aerospace, LLC||Supporting Organization||Industry||Red Oak, Texas|
|University of South Carolina-Columbia||Supporting Organization||Academia||Columbia, South Carolina|